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# Tuesday, May 25, 2010

After taking up a new job, I found myself being forced into working mode 7 days a week, 16 hours per day, well, may be this is a little exaggerated, but I really find little time for my family, not to mention Lego, I did purchased a few sets, but I missed the chance to grab the Collectable Minifigures, they were being swept away by players and vendors so quickly that any information about their availability would become useless by the time you read them.

I am not sure how long this crazy workload will end, I desperately look forward to have a day where I can be free (mentally) to open a box of lego set. But of course, family comes first, I have not been taking my kid to the park for a long time, really feel guilty about that.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:51:28 PM (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Friday, April 9, 2010

After I have done my review on Lego 7573 Battle of Alamut here, I have also posted it at a Greater China forum, while many agrees that this is really a very good set, it is interesting to notice that a few people are waiting for discounts in order to get this set at a "reasonable" price. While I believe that the pricing of the set is ok, I feel that some discounts done by Lego in the past may have caused people to have some sort of expectations. And personally I think such expectations may not always be realistic, I would really be surprised if 7573 would be sold in big discounted price.

Being some sort of working on a technical + marketing role in the past, I am always wary of the practice of making discounts on good products in order to achieve short term revenue goals, when I saw Lego making huge discounts on a product which I think is very good, such as lego bulldozer 8275, it is kind of bad for me because I was not only buying the same stuff at a much higher price, it may also mean that I made a wrong judgement on how good the product is.

I hope I would not face the same situation on 7573, well, I really think it is a very good set. A very good set that should not deserve to become a discounted product for whatever reason.

Friday, April 9, 2010 11:21:13 PM (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Traditionally the smallest set in a Lego theme is usually best for minifig collection, and it is also true for the Prince of Persia theme. But for this theme, which in my opinion offers some of the best minifigs in recent Lego productions, that set should be extra attractive.

After a very positive experience with the largest set in the theme (7573 Battle of Alamut), I would say I have the same level of satisfaction with 7569 Desert Attack, only one caveat, the price mark-up is too high for Hong Kong! Sold at HKD 138.90 (USD 17.80), it is a 162% mark-up! And that price is close to the selling price of 7570 in U.S.! Although I can take advantage of coupons, but such official pricing is very discouraging.

Minifigs obviously are the center of the set, you get the same Dastan from other sets, but you can get Claw Hassansin and Hatchet Hassansin only from 7567, the skeleton is a nice extra, but the horse is also a star item here.

The armour plate of Claw Hassansin looks cool on him, and we got three claws! one is extra! - Picture on right are the extras

There is nothing special about the structure, except the gray plant and sand color plant bush, which are new I think, Desert is a mysterious landscape and this theme gives us now the necessary elements to bring it to the world of Lego!

There are two pieces of Gem that can be hidden under the gray plant plate

The double sword Destan is really a very cool minifig, especially with the double face, which shows the gentle and heroic sides of the personality, it would be fun to try to create combat scenes with him.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010 3:05:06 PM (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Monday, April 5, 2010

After completing Lego Prince of Persia 7573 Battle of Alamut, and reading through reviews of other Prince of Persia sets on the web, I stand firm in my conclusion that this is the best value set in the theme, and is truly an excellent set that I would applause Lego for doing a great job.

Basically I do not see any cons in the set, but there are many pros that I would like to point out:

Excellent minifigs and creatures
It is actually very obvious for most sets in the theme. In 7573 you have a complete masculine cast of warriors with different characteristics:

The cool and handsome Dastan, supported by his friend Seso

The Antagonist warriors headed by Nizam including Gool, Tamah and the Alamat guards

The cunning Tamah minifig looks very real with his malicious smirk!

Although the camel is available is also available in 7571 (The fight for the dagger), this is a tan one and I read that the one from 7571 has a different color, I think I would get the 7571 soon and shall confirm it.

Great castle

Need to say more? the new Sand Orange like color + tan + white combination creates good effect! Four sections linked together to form the complete structure

Beautiful golden dome, the quarter-moon shape parts create an effect that looks like a "ribbon effect" to me!


A nice mini-throne


Rich parts inventory
Parts wise it is very generous in terms of spares, and contains a rich varieties of new or high value parts. This set also introduces a lot of new parts: The bigger doors that looks good even from the other side, gold domes, smooth edge archs, and many others. But honestly, it is hard to think about using this set for parts only, perhaps combining 2 sets to build an even bigger castle would make sense.

Bag 1+2 for Castle gate and minifigs, Bag 3 and 4 for the two sides respectively, Bag 5,6,7 for the main tower


Spare parts, dagger may not count as the other one can be held in Nizam's hand 

Excellent playability

hinged section linking


Nice Doors looking good from both sides of the wall

The use of 1 x 4 stub bricks allows Dastan to "walk" on the wall

The retractable stairs is also very interesting!

Breaking door

Catapults and Oil pouring devices

The Dagger is very cool! So is the way it is stored

By the way, I got this for HKD 789.9 after using HKD 80 coupons off the standard price of HKD 869.9, which translates into around USD 100, which is around 25% mark-up over the US Pricing of USD 80, this is already a very good price point as most mark-ups are above 50%.

Overall the theme reflects a unique middle eastern culture behind the story line and the lego design does it so well, however, the smaller sets cannot show a grand picture of the theme line and are limited by the size, some may say that the castle can still be bigger, but at his price range, 821 parts + 7 minifigs + camel, 7573 gives very good value in terms of "price-performance", with a size that is good enough to give a feel of "magnificence"

I would highly recommend this set!

Monday, April 5, 2010 2:53:00 PM (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Saturday, April 3, 2010

Taking advantage of the holidays, I steal time to play Lego, and what a good timing for Lego to release Prince of Persia theme here in Hong Kong, from what I know they are very hot and stocks in Toysrus are being grabbed as many local players are taking advantage of the discount coupons.

If financially feasible, I think getting all the sets in the theme is fine, as all of them seem to be worth buying, but having limited budget, I decided to get only 1 set, but the problem is, which one?

Honestly, many of the lower cost sets are both nice and not too expensive, but after some careful checking, I think they are actually too costly in terms of "price-performance", the best value set in my opinion is the most expensive set - 7573 Battle of Alamut!

I opened the box tonight, not having enough time to build the entire set, I completed only bag 1 and 2, but so far the impression is very positive, I believe I have made the right decision, and this Prince of Persia theme seems to be very good.

This set is made up of 7 bags, a camel and a tan plate, I can't find any stickers?

Only have time to build bag 1 and 2 only, which includes all minifigs and weapons.

This is something that I have been wanting! Cool!


The other facial expression of Dastan (two side minifig head)

So don't hesitate, check out the Prince of Persia theme, I think it is worth buying, at least for this 7573.

Stay tuned for the full review of this set, I hope I can find time to complete it in the next 2 days.

Saturday, April 3, 2010 2:28:53 AM (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Friday, April 2, 2010

More than a year ago I was thinking of building a boat MOC, and I bought a set of 8636 for the boat base parts, but due to work the plan was totally abandoned and the lego set was opened but unattended until now - the Atlantis set reminded me of this nearly forgotten Lego asset.

Somehow I got an impression that this Lego Agent set did not seem to be a hot item, not many people talked about it and it was on shelf for a long time, and were even on sale for a very low price! Looking at the box, I think it may not have triggered a lot of excitment except perhaps the glow-in-the-dark octopus, but after I built it, I think I appreciate this set more than the Atlantis ones.

The boat that I bought this set for is not that impressive really, although the torpedo launcher and the head lights looks quite nice to me, but the overall design and color mix is too ordinary, and beware of the flick-fire action, it is very strong and can hurt.

What really impress me in this set is the submarine, if you compare it to a traditional submarine, you might say that this is nowhere like it, but if you consider it as a small underwater combat vehicle, it is indeed an impressive one. With a flip-up missle launcher and side missiles, plus a Bionicle claw at the front, it is well armed. The compartments for keeping a chest box is also a nice design, as well as the docking mechanism for the small sub, the whole vehicle is good for play and display. I would even imagine myself manuvering the vehicle in deep sea!

The submarine has a periscope that can raise

The minifigs are not what I care really, but I think the octopus is very valuable, it really glows in the dark as expected (yeah, of course it would you might say), and I guess it is available only from this set.

Although this set provides nice stickers, putting stickers on is still the most difficult tasks and the most annoying one, it is important to do the task carefully, or else it would spoil the overall look of the submarine and other vehicles.

Imagine how this sea scooter would look if the stick is poorly applied

8636 Deep Sea Quest is a wonderful set and contains a lot of good parts, I got it at regular price but still consider it an acceptable deal, it was a pity I was not able to grab another one when it was on sale, not really because I did not want to, but just were not able to buy one during that time.

Friday, April 2, 2010 10:43:06 PM (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Sunday, March 14, 2010

Although I am rather "junior" in my Lego experience, I have learnt about a few "under water" sets that Lego had released in the past, while I still haven't opened the Aqua Raiders sets I own, I was lucky to get a wonderful 1997 set under the Town-Divers theme: 6441 Deep Sea Refuge.

Despite being an incomplete second hand set, since the price is rather reasonable, I see it as a very good deal, especially after finishing the build and seeing the finished product, it was quite a hassle to find replacement parts (which are more than what the seller mentioned but I think it was a honest mistake) and I had to settled with using parts of different (but seemingly compatible) colors, but I think I was able to come up with something that can reflect the value of the original set.

This decade old set contains a lot of unique types of parts not seen in recent years any more, such as the winch, portholed and various shapes of panels, there are many printed parts too. The attention to the details is also amazing - x-ray machine, storage area for equipments, knives.

The lab structure is built on two 16 X 32 Tan baseplates (which are very useful) hinged together, and can be fold and unfold to work on the interior, there are so much playability there.

The submarine itself is also already an excellent piece of vehicle by itself, the driver is seated inside a hinged dome, and the cabin doors can also be opened, equipped with the arms, it is very realistic as an undersea explorer that can collect specimens.

You also have a boat with winch, which can be hooked to the base. Please note that the back of the boat was originally a blue plate, but it was missing from the set when I got it, so I replaced it with a white one.

I think a lot of people looking at this set would focus also on the sharks and Stingray, in this second hand set one of the stingray and a shark is missing, it is still ok as I got enough creatures to keep the ocean floor busy. By the way, how easy is it today to get a Lego Stingray?


Please note the Underwater Scooter that the divers can use to move around, this is also a cool part of the set!

The porthole are very cool, making the interior lighting extremely realistic for an undersea feel.

The minifigs shown here may not be equipped as the same from the original set (I think even the cast is not correct either), according to Peeron there should be 4 clear diver masks in the set, but I got only 2 here, but overall this crew with the set as I got it is acceptable to me.

Comparing the Atlantis sets to this Deep Sea Refuge set, I think that Lego has not been exerting best effort in the new theme, having great minifigs/creatures like the Squid Warrior is not enough, the attention to details and being generous in enriching the content would be necessary to come up with a great set, if the quality of 6441 can be found in the Atlantis set, it could easily be one of the best Lego theme in 2010.

Sunday, March 14, 2010 7:07:48 PM (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Saturday, March 13, 2010

I built the 8056 Monster Crab Clash tonight, and feels better about this set than 8061. Although The crab is still not very realistic (the body is relatively small), but it is quite well designed in coming up with the claw and legs.

The diver is the same design as 8061, but with a different two faces minifig head.

And from this set, you get the yellow key ring!

One observation on the diver's helmet though, not sure if that is a defect or something by design, I found the same crack in all three diver's helmets. Anyone can comment on this?

Saturday, March 13, 2010 1:07:22 AM (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Wednesday, March 10, 2010

After completing 8061 Gateway of the Squid, I would say the overall impression is not really that good, the minifigs, which includes the Squid warrior and divers, are quite impressive, especially the very cool Squid warrior, but the squids and the temple are disappointing.

The design of tentacles in one single long piece is not ideal but still acceptable, but the squid body and claw do not appear realistic to me, same for the smaller octopus, I understand it may not be easy to design these two sea creatures, but in such forms I just feel that they look odd, the octopus looks more like a white spider to me.

The color mix of the temple is a strange contrast of gray and tan, which does not look harmonious. The mechanism to open the gates through rubber band is hard to use, wouldn't using technic parts provide a smoother movement?

I think Lego is very smart in providing the colored keys, many would be tempted to buy more Atlantis set to collect all 5 colors, but I feel that there are poor designs in some elements, which would weaken the value of the Atlantis theme despite having some very cool minifigs.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010 10:25:47 PM (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Saturday, March 6, 2010

Finally seeing the Lego Atlantis series available in Toysrus Hong Kong, only one or two of the smaller sets were previously sold at higher price at some small shops (which were probably imported by them on their own and not through Lego Hong Kong), I was expecting the official channel to release the theme, but it turns out that the pricing is extremely agressive:

Set No Hong Kong pricing (HKD)
8056   78.90
8057  118.90
8058  188.90
8059  188.90
8060  298.90
8061  498.90
8072   34.90
8073   34.90
8075  748.90

(Please click on the image to see a higher resolution image)

I was not expecting to see them on shelf and was not prepared with information, although Atlantis is not quite a favorite theme the way I see it, I still purchased a set to experience it, from the boxes I instinctively feel that 8075 is a good set, but the pricing is really too high here  with a 160% markup compared to US Pricing (at 1 USD = 7.8 HKD, this set is sold at USD 96 here!), really a big turn-off!

So I looked at 8061 Gateway of the Squid instead, at HKD 498.9 (~USD 64), the markup is still 160%, but the squid looks quite interesting, so I decided to get 8061, well, I opened the box and built the Squids (bag 1) last night, I would say I am not too impressed so far.

Yes, the Atlantis theme is quite special as it introduced a whole bunch of interesting minifigs/creatures, such as the Squid warrior included in 8061, but I still need to see good designs and good values in the theme, with such aggressive pricing, good value is an unlikely thing that I would say about the theme.

Saturday, March 6, 2010 1:24:44 PM (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)